An Interview With CA-Based Hardcore Band, DOWN AGAIN, On Life Since Quarantine, Their Debut Full-Length Album and More!
On June 12th, the Northern California post hardcore band Down Again released their debut full-length album, “The Devil Is A Gentleman.” The 13 track collection features the single “Actions and Their Consequences” and it was produced and mixed by Nick Loiacono (Kingdom Of Giants, Wolf & Bear, Secret Band, Demon In Me).
Down Again draws heavy influence from early 2000’s favorites such as Brand New, The Plot In You, Manchester Orchestra and Underoath. Members prior bands have shared the stage with groups like Kingdom of Giants, Jamie’s Elsewhere and Secondhand Serenade.
‘The Devil Is A Gentleman’ was written as an outlet for vocalist/guitarist Lenny Costa to tell a story of inner struggle and coming to grips with those closest to him slowly drifting away. With lyrical themes ranging from losing faith, depression, hope and relationships, each track is also left to the listener to interpret as their own. The trio also includes Alex Wechter (bass) and Lucas Garcia who handles guitar for live shows and also played drums, keys, backing vocals and co-wrote lyrics with Costa. “We have an incredible synergy amongst the three of us’ says the band. “This is the sort of thing that is a total trip to look back at, how a few friends can take a bunch of ideas, candid stories and put it all together in one full album to share.”
Musically, the sound pulls heavy influence from early 2000’s post hardcore favorites, which they cite groups like Underoath, Thrice and Brand New as their inspiration to pick up instruments and begin their own journeys. This young group has assembled an album that easily sounds like a release from a band years into their career, but is just the beginning for these longtime friends in their early 20’s who grew up skating, surfing and going to shows together in the bay area.
Connect With Down Again Online Here:
Learn more about Down Again in the following All Access interview:
Thank you for your time. So given these unusual Covid-19 times, what does a typical day look like for you all? How have you adjusted to these times?
A typical day for our band consists of a lot of texting and sending each other ideas. With the coronavirus pandemic going on, we haven’t been able to write new music in the same room together, and that has definitely slowed our process down.
What has been the hardest/most challenging part about being quarantined? Is your city starting to open up more now? Have you been able to get together to play much music together?
The hardest part about the shelter in place has been not being able to hang out with each other, because before we were a band we were all best friends. We haven’t all been together since before the pandemic started, but we have tried to keep the ball rolling with our music. Things are slowly starting to open up in our cities, like outside dining at restaurants, but it looks like things won’t be back to normal for a while.
Have you had to cancel a lot of shows this spring, summer and fall? I see that you do have a couple shows this summer in cities that allow it so what has that been like? Are you starting to schedule any bigger shows for 2021 yet?
Having no live music has been a huge bummer for us. We haven’t rescheduled any shows, everything has been straight up canceled, which is disappointing because we had big plans for the album release. We are looking to put together a full tour once things open back up, hopefully in 2021.
Since we are all desperately missing live music, can you recall a favorite show of yours from the past? What do you think ultimately makes for a great show for you?
If we had to pick our favorite show we’ve ever been to, it would be in 2018 when we all got to see Polaris, The Devil Wears Prada, August Burns Red and Parkway Drive in Hollywood. The show was incredible, just 3 hours of non-stop ass beaters. What really makes for a great show is the lineup, and when every single band on the bill kills it.
How did you guys go about choosing your band name? Was it a hard decision to come to? What other names were you considering?
We had already finished recording our album The Devil Is A Gentleman with Nick Loiacono at Fang Studio and we hadn’t come up with a band name yet. After listening back to the album and throwing around a couple ideas, when Down Again was suggested it just resonated with all of us. We really felt like it captured the emotion that we brought to our music.
Let’s talk about “The Devil Is A Gentleman.” What was it like recording this album? Were there any surprises or unexpected challenges?
Recording The Devil Is A Gentleman was an emotional process for us, we were all working and going to school full time and trying to get in the studio whenever we could fit it in. The most surprising part of the process was hearing some of our least favorite demos end up being our favorite tracks on the album. Our producer Nick really brought these songs to life and pushed us to make every song on the record special. Thankfully the record was finished well before the coronavirus pandemic started.
What inspired the songs on this new collection? How did they get to be a part of it?
What really inspired us to write this record was we wanted to put out a brutally honest representation of the struggles and pain that we had been going through as a band. We wanted to write music that other people in similar situations could listen to, and know that they weren’t alone. Every song came together a little bit different, sometimes It would start with a chord progression, others would be lyrics, some of the songs were actually written in my head and I had to figure out how to play them later.
The biggest change for our writing process has been recording demos. When we were younger we wouldn’t get the chance to listen to our songs until we were in the studio, but now we all have recording equipment and can fine tune the songs ahead of time. It has really been a game changer and allowed us to step out writing up.
If you could get into the studio with any artist today and collaborate on a new song, who would it be and why? What bands consistently inspire you all?
If we could work with anyone in the industry it would be legendary producer (and guitarist of Killswitch Engage) Adam D. He worked on so many of our favorite albums such as Define The Great Line and Lost In The Sound Of Separation by Underoath and Dead Throne and 8:18 by The Devil Wears Prada, his production really inspired the direction of our album. Those albums have been so huge for us, listening to both those bands growing up really helped shape us musically.
What would your dream music video look like right now?
Our dream music video would honestly just be us jamming out to a fast, heavy song with a cool background and lots of explosions and fire going on all around us. No back story or anything, just head banging and things blowing up.
How do you think future music is going to be influenced by this incredible and absolutely necessary Black Lives Matter movement that the US and even the world is going through now? Is it inspiring you and your music today at all?
I believe that the BLM movement is going to have a lasting positive impression on the music industry in a lot of ways. There is no room in our scene for racism and people are being called out and held accountable for their racist words and actions. Hopefully this will also open up the door for more inclusivity and more POC in our scene as well. It has definitely impacted us as a band and has inspired some of the topics for our new music. It is an important issue and it is everyone with a platform’s responsibility to keep talking about it.